I’ve covered a litany of different media opportunities for TV show premieres and without question the experience I had in Brooklyn for the season two kick-off of Syfy’s “The Magicians” was the most unique. For the new episodes, Syfy constructed a “Hall of Magic” inside the retail center of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. Each room inside the hall offered something different: a library with an open bar, a room of electronics that animated as soon as you pointed towards them, a shadow wall and yes even a room where you could levitate in thin air.
After touring the hall and becoming a believer, I chatted on the red carpet with Jason Ralph, a Harlem-based actor who plays one of the leads in “The Magicians” as Quentin Coldwater.
Actress, model and comedian Arielle Vandenberg called in to chat about her new web series, “Car Star,” which is available starting Monday (10/31) on Verizon’s Go90 app. Vandenberg hosts the episodes, which pair user-submitted karaoke videos with stars like Pentatonix, MAGIC! and Lindsey Stirling.
Vandenberg, who has over 2 million Vine followers, also talked about Twitter’s announcement this past week that Vine would be discontinued.
Scoring an infectious song of the summer, touring with Maroon 5, collaborating with the likes of David Guetta and Shakira along with performing on almost every television show imaginable. These are the experiences that shaped “Primary Colours,” the sophomore album from Magic! that was released earlier this month.
“’Rude’ is a great song and so it never feels corny to sing; it always feels like there’s soul in it and there’s heart in it,” said lead singer Nasri Atweh. “Of course it was hard to sing it every night; it was monotonous.”
But the success of “Rude” only motivated the quartet as it wrote and recorded “Primary Colours.”
“If we could get that same reaction for other songs… because ‘Rude’ has a reaction that… nothing in the world has this reaction. Only like, chocolate ice cream has this reaction!” Nasri continued. “So when you get that for the one song you want it for all of the songs.”
Matter-of-fact, “Rude” directly inspired another track on the band’s new release, “Dance Monkey.” Like most of the other songs on the Canadians’ second LP, it’s catchy and born in the reggae-pop sound that Magic! has become known for. Other highlights include the Sean Paul-assisted lead single “Lay You Down Easy” and its follow-up, “Red Dress” about a girl who takes forever to get ready.
“The guy’s waiting (for the girl to get ready),” Magic!’s front man explained. “And then when she’s looking all hot, he’s like, ‘Alright, let’s take your clothes off.’”
Another cut with the same playful sentiment is “Gloria,” which documents the love a man has for a woman even though she clearly should not be trusted.
“Gloria is a dirty, dirty…girl,” Nasri said. “’Glorias’ are everywhere, girls and boys.
“The fun thing about that song is that my character is so helpless because he just wants a girl as beautiful as Gloria.”
The problem? Nasri’s character takes Gloria on a cruise, only to return to their cabin one night with a bottle of wine and find her in bed with two other men.
“We’re looking forward to making that video.”
In the meantime, Magic! will continue promoting the new album before performing a handful of dates in July and August, including a free concert in Syracuse, N.Y. on August 27. The group then plans to head out on tour this fall.
The band scored a monster, chart-topping hit; arguably the song of the summer. But even the end of the year, with 3 million copies of the single “Rude” sold, Magic! was far from interested in talking about the past.
“We think about it but we try not to overly think about it,” lead singer Nasri Atweh told me after the band performed at “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in Times Square. “We have a lot of work to do for the next song, which is called ‘Let Your Hair Down,’ yunno to make that a popular song.”
The Canadian pop-reggae outfit already has its third single lined up from the album, Don’t Kill The Magic, called “No Way No.” In New Zealand, Australia and Canada this will be the fourth song released from the album – as the album’s title track was also serviced as a single in those countries.
“We have a lot of work to do because we’re not going anywhere,” the singer explained as the band stood around him on a frigid night in Times Square. Perhaps true to their Canadian roots, the guys wore yellow suits paired with skinny ties and a white dress shirt; no coats, no scarves, and except for Atweh no gloves. With five layers on my upper body alone, I was cold just looking at them. And I didn’t grow up that far from Canada.
“We’re just starting,” the front man continued, “so we’ve got to catch up to the success of ‘Rude.’”
The bar is set high. “Rude” cracked the top 10 in 10 different countries, topping the charts in the UK in addition to the States. The single sold a lot of units abroad as well, achieving platinum-or-better status in four other territories besides the U.S.
Prior to performing “Rude” with Wyclef Jean at The American Music Awards, the band told me that they would once again tour the globe following the holidays. That was not an exaggeration. Magic! will head to Jamaica soon where the quartet will film the music video for “No Way No.” Then it’s back stateside with a performance at the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival the weekend of the Super Bowl.
Then in February, Magic! hits the road as the supporting act on Maroon 5’s world tour. The trek begins on February 16 in Dallas, with North American dates continuing through the start of April. Towards the end of May, the schedule picks back up overseas.